clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Leftovers: The Thanksgiving Blitz

A narrative from the upper bowl.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

There was no reason for this to happen. For a day full of fearful floats and nausea and weather that couldn't keep its head right, there was little reason to believe that what awaited the throngs crowding around Gate A in no discerning pattern was a thrashing of nightmarish proportions. Certainly, the happy Eagles fans were not ready for this. The poor bastards lined up in their Brian Westbrook jerseys (at least one in a bright green Simmons) and leather hats and shades.

"Wayne Fontes was a pretty cool guy though." There was that voice behind me again gibbering through names, old names. I remembered a few of them but it was hard to think as it was on a Thanksgiving morning stuffed between smoky smelling people trying to shove their way into the funnel provided at what was being called "Gate A." The voices were talking again, and they were talking about the Lions again. I caught pieces. "Could have kept Krieg..." "Ebron's not..." "Wayne County..."

The epicenter had grown to dangerous proportions. The Elwood and the other place had cleaned out and everyone was staring at the gate. Some weren't moving. I moved around to another side to find a demure shuffle in the constituents of that particular crowd. Before I had a notion to try another gate people were behind me. The guy in front of me was wearing a Schlesinger jersey with just a hint of paint flecking off the name and number. That stain was probably tobacco, but how it got on the back I wasn't sure. That poor bastard. Cory looked like a turtle every Sunday, struggling to keep his head out of the shell they provided him.

This wouldn't happen, I spoke to no one, if Greektown had just decided to open early enough for the game. Instead the lot at Pegasus had turned us away, barking something about 11 AM, a time where no one would be seeking gyros when the game started not much later. Someone mumbled in reply, maybe to my words. Security was informing a man that he couldn't bring a diaper bag inside.

I managed to slip inside during the national anthem. The bastards didn't realize what they had done. I decided it was enough, the $4 beer and the rum that I had been sneaking all morning. Inside, these drinks were going to triple in price anyway and as a newly minted member of the blog media — we brave souls striking out from the basements of mothers to the eternal chagrin of that screaming turkey on ESPN — I wanted to be cognizant enough to know who was doing the Thing today. Eagles fans were still upbeat despite the two games they had lost. Surely that Dolphins game was by the skin, surely Tampa a fluke. Yeah. The defense could do a job holding the game close for their offense, missing Bradford and Mathews as it was. Sanchez had haunted the Lions before. Two more Westbrook jerseys were seated in front of me, and a few rows down there was some horrid thing in an Zach Ertz jersey already whooping and hollering.

From my perch right below the suites I watched the whole mess unfold. The Lions found luck as the only Eagles field goal bounced off the uprights. The Ertz jersey stood up and pointed down at some rube a few times as the Eagles made a stop, and again when Mark Sanchez found Brent Celek in the endzone. Things were still playful at the moment. The game was still in anybody's reach at 7-7.

Oh, but then the wheels fell off in such a frightful fit for Philadelphia's finest. Golden Tate walked past the line. I had changed my mind and was spilling money out for a Moscow mule (not bad, a little heavy on the lime, but excellent choice using Fever-Tree and Tito's) at the Bar 45 kiosk when Prater's field goal sailed through the uprights at 48 yards out. By the time I had gotten back to my seat it was a very different picture for the friendly visitors. The Westbrook duo were looking anywhere but the field when Megatron caught his first touchdown of the day, just before the half. He would get the ball right back in the third quarter and add two more.

This is apparently where the Eagles gave up. Battered. Bruised. Nothing doing. The Lions saw it, accordingly. "We made them tap out." It certainly looked it up from my crow's nest above the fray. Mark Sanchez had turned helpless after his single touchdown, that moment of glory washed away immediately. Ezekiel Ansah was feasting on his marrow.

The Lions had 28 first downs. The box scores says the Eagles had 14 but I dispute that. There was little proof as drive after drive faltered and punts sailed to Golden Tate, who stubbornly refused to call fair catch every time. The Lions held the ball for 37 minutes and change, including nearly 13 minutes to an Eagles 96 seconds before the half, before tacking another 8 minutes when they got the ball to start after Big Sean's performance. The Mark Sanchez fumble -- the one I noted before, the one where Ezekiel Ansah tore California out of his heart and took the ball with the grip of a dead man -- came immediately after. The Eagles defense was smothered and stuffed.

At least one Philadelphia fan was having fun. He had consumed enough venom and made a headdress out of his jersey. He was waving up and down, trying to teach Lions fans "Fly, Eagles Fly." When word failed him he simply twisted his nipples and shouted at the empty suites behind us. He was being humored, at least. The dude with the Ertz jersey returned with a beer and received a chorus of boos and finger points as he tried to get back to his seats. The Westbrook jerseys were checking their phones.

Fourth quarter. Everyone was piling for the exits after Joique Bell's touchdown. The departures allowed me to move from the 10 yard line on down to about midfield behind a couple of dudes in Blue Jays caps. I was immediately struck with questions.

"Is this normal for Lions games? We don't come down here much, but just seems kinda odd to see everyone leave this early."

"Thanksgiving. Everyone wants to get home to cook the birds and this one's a laugher."

"Oh right." They informed me they were Canadians, which is why they probably forgot. We spoke about the Grey Cup for a few minutes and they seemed genuinely excited to find some miserable Yank who wanted to talk about the Redblacks. They also let me know they were Eagles fans. "So do you think Chip Kelly survives this?" I had to ask it. Jordan Matthews had scored a very sad touchdown minutes before and the Lions were responding by running out the clock via George Winn.

"Oh God no. He's gone. I want him gone tomorrow." Genuinely, they didn't seem to care about the game itself. They wanted this. Now, more than ever, the emperor had no clothes on that cold lonely sideline. The whole exchange felt strangely familiar.

At that point, two girls ran out onto the field chased by redshirts. They unfurled a black banner with white letters: "Animal Liberation Now." We had a good laugh about that. To say nothing of their cause, they were out here unfolding it before a stadium now two-thirds empty. Whoever they sought to reach, they were probably home in time to start roasting turkey.

The Canadians and I exchanged pleasantries as the clock hit zeroes and I found myself back on the road to Toledo. The streets were empty by the time I found I-75 and Killer Mike was screaming about the police. Most other sane beings had found their families again and resumed Thanksgiving, a third year now where happiness was bought by a Lions victory.

NEW: Join Pride of Detroit Direct

Jeremy Reisman will drop into your inbox twice a week to provide exclusive, in-depth reporting and insights from Ford Field. Subscribe to go deeper into Lions fandom, and join us on our path to win the Super Bowl.